This presentation will report on the benefits and challenges faced by a K-12 school implementing open textbooks. This case study focuses on a large K-12 public school located in the Midwestern part of the United States with an enrollment of over 18,000 students. The open textbook initiative began during the 2015-2016 school year with the adoption of open science textbooks in 6th through 9th grades. These open textbooks have been curated by district curriculum coordinators and teachers. Middle school students may access these open textbooks though computer labs, mobile computer carts and their own mobile device or a device provided by the school district as part of a 1:1 initiative. They may also use a printed copy provided by the school district.
Much research has been conducted on the money saving aspects and outcomes of using open textbooks for students in higher education environments. In K-12 environments however, the research, especially in the form of case studies that may inform administrators venturing in the OER space is very limited. With continual budget concerns of K-12 schools and the rise of expectations, cost saving benefits may help schools increase academic success with less funding.
As with many new innovations being introduced in the classroom there are often logistical issues that need to be addressed to facilitate successful implementation. For example, one consideration that needs to be addresses with the use of open textbooks is the availability of mobile devices on which to allow access to all students. While some students have their own mobile devices to use, other students may not. K-12 schools must consider how students will access their required open textbooks while they are at both school and home.
Evidence of open textbooks use in K-12 environments is emerging. For example, the CK-12 foundation, the largest U.S. publisher of open textbooks used all over the world include public, private, and charter schools on six of the seven continents. Goals of these schools using open textbooks include: creating and acquiring digital content, digital devices, and maintaining the devices with a relatively static budget, providing high-quality and current instructional material using no new textbook resources, and addressing instructional needs not being addressed by current textbooks. This presentation considers the attainment of these goals through an open textbook initiative at one K-12 school and their plans for the continued development and use of open textbooks in other content areas.